By Nick Diamantides
As expected, during its Tuesday (September 7) night meeting, the Signal Hill City Council formally approved EDCO’s plan to construct a truck terminal and office facility on an approximately 2.5-acre site on the south side of 27th Street between California and Myrtle avenues.
The council’s approval came in the form of five separate resolutions adopting a mitigated negative declaration, a general plan amendment, a conditional use permit (CUP) and two zoning ordinance amendments necessary for EDCO’s plan to move forward. (EDCO is known locally as Signal Hill Disposal.)
The truck terminal and office building are designed to complement EDCO’s planned development of a recycling and solid-waste transfer station at 2755 California Avenue, a short distance from the planned truck terminal and office building. The council approved the recycling and transfer station in February 2009.
“EDCO subsequently expressed interest in constructing a complementary facility nearby to provide additional office space, maintenance bays and overnight truck parking opportunities,” said Scott Charney, planning manager. He noted that after the company had selected the parcel on 27th Street, the Signal Hill Planning Commission (on August 10, 2010) conducted a public hearing on the project’s entitlements. “Two owners of dwellings in the 2600 block of Myrtle Avenue spoke in opposition to the project citing concerns regarding traffic, parking, and property value impacts and potential noise, odor, debris and vector problems,” Charney said.
He added that during the planning commission hearing, EDCO representatives explained that the planned building would be strategically placed along Myrtle Avenue to act as a shield, the maintenance bays were oriented to face California Avenue and the site would be surrounded by perimeter block walls and landscaping to act as a buffer.
“More importantly, the company agreed to comply with the conditions dealing with traffic, parking, noise, trash, odors and vector control included in the CUP,” Charney said. “The commission expressed confidence in EDCO’s willingness to resolve any operational issues and, by unanimous vote, approved the project’s site plan and design review.” He added that the commission also recommended council approval of the project.
After Charney’s presentation, Steve South, EDCO’s president and CEO, addressed the council. “We think this is a terrific project, and we have had a lot of input by city staff,” he said, adding that company officials will always be available to discuss the concerns of city officials as well as residents. “Should issues arise, we would always be available to address them,” he said.
Councilman Mike Noll commended EDCO officials for doing their homework. “They have learned over the years what Signal Hill expects,” he said. “We expect quality, and EDCO is a quality company.”
Mayor Ed Wilson agreed, noting that EDCO is a good corporate citizen and a good partner of the city. “We appreciate that partnership and look forward to you completing this building,” he said.
The council voted 4-0 to approve EDCO’s plans.
In a separate action, the council also approved a third amendment to the CUP for the wireless telecommunications facility in the antenna consolidation area at 2411 Skyline Drive. The amendment allows Clearwire to install three microwave antennae and three panel antennae in order to provide Internet access to Sprint customers. Noll and Councilman Larry Forester expressed concerns about the nighttime maintenance schedules at the antenna site. They noted that residents in the vicinity had complained about crews making noise late at night. The CUP allows emergency maintenance to be done at the site at night, but the councilmen wanted to know what was the definition of emergency maintenance.
City Manager Ken Farfsing explained that the City had not really tried to define emergency maintenance but expected that the ten companies that operate antenna on the site would only do work that was absolutely necessary during late hours.
Clearwire representative Tim Kaczmar explained that a system failure is considered an emergency. “If it goes down, there has to be someone out there,” he said.
Dawn Krein, property manager for Crown Castle, the company that leases antenna space to the ten companies at the site, explained why it is important to keep transmissions functioning at the site 24 hours a day. “If the network goes down in the middle of the night, customers may not be able to dial 9-1-1,” she said.
In other actions, the council approved $6,726 from Measure R funds and $9,216 from Redevelopment Agency funds to pay for the city’s share of the sustainable cities strategy now being developed by the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, and it also approved modifications to the fees the city charges for the rental of sports fields. Starting Sept. 7, resident sport teams will pay $10 per hour for use of the fields and nonresident sports teams will pay $20 per hour.
The next meeting of the city council is scheduled for 7pm, Sept. 21 in the council chamber of Signal Hill City Hall.